New home construction on Parcel A is seen behind dilapidated buildings on Parcel G at the old Hunters Point Shipyard. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

New home construction on Parcel A is seen behind dilapidated buildings on Parcel G at the old Hunters Point Shipyard. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

State investigation into possible contamination at Shipyard’s Parcel A complete, finds no “safety hazards” on hillside site

A survey of a nearby Parcel A-1 was conducted previously and also stamped off as “safe.”

San Francisco’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure announced Friday that a state-led effort underway since last fall to retest a hillside parcel of the Hunters Point Shipyard for radioactive contamination has wrapped up, and found no health hazards for nearby residents.

In October, the California Department of Public Health conducted a month-long survey of the area, known as Parcel A-2, that was comprised of a “walkover scan” and “towed array scans” on the hillside, which is currently uncovered and undeveloped.

A survey of a nearby residential area known as Parcel A-1 was conducted previously and also stamped off as “safe” by the department, despite the discovery of a radioactive deck marker last year that was located close to residents’ homes.

Some 10,500 homes are planned at the shipyard, a former U.S. Naval base that has been designated as a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site due to its long history of radioactive contamination. Its dry docks once served as cleaning stations for ships exposed to atomic tests in the Pacific Ocean, and the former naval base also housed a nuclear warfare research.

The shipyard’s development was halted following reviews by the Navy and U.S. EPA conducted last year that found up to 97 percent of data produced by Tetra Tech EC, the navy-contractor that was largely responsible for the shipyard’s remediation between 2002 and 2016, to be unreliable.

Environmental advocates have called for independent oversight of restesting efforts launched as a result of the allegedly botched cleanup, and a group of homeowners already living on Parcel A-1, the first site to be developed as part of the project, filed a lawsuit in July against Tetra Tech EC and the shipyard’s developers, claiming that they were misled about the extent of the contamination. A total of 439 homes have been built and are largely occupied on Parcel A-1, with 66 more under construction.

Tetra Tech EC and developer Lennar Inc. and its offshoot, Five point Holdings, are also facing a $27 billion class action lawsuit by Bayview Hunterspoint residents claiming that they have suffered adverse health impacts as a result of fraudulent business practices at the shipyard.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Tetra Tech EC over it’s work at the shipyard, claiming widespread fraud.

In May, two former Tetra Tech supervisors were sentenced to federal prison after they admitted to falsifying records and swapping out soil samples. The company has denied widespread fraud, and has placed blame on a few “rogue” employees.

Despite lingering concerns and whistleblower accounts of malpractice in the shipyard’s cleanup, the state health department concluded that Parcel A-2 is safe for further development, stating that “only naturally occurring potassium-40” was detected there.

“Potassium-40, which CDPH detected 102 times while scanning, is a naturally occurring element normally found throughout nature, including in plants, animals, various foods and our bodies. CDPH advises that detection of potassium-40 is not unusual for a radiation scan of this type and is not a health or safety concern for people or for the environment,” OCII said in a statement.

Bradley Angel, executive director of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, has criticized the scanning of both parcels A-1 and A-2 as insufficient, citing a need to check the soil below resident’s homes, as well as soil removal and independent oversight.

“It’s no surprise that the state department of so-called public health would say everything is fine from their scanning, which is not real testing,” said Angel. “This is the same agency that refused to do core sampling at Parcel A-1, like they refused to do on this current parcel.”

Angel added that CDPH “promised no radioactive waste could possibly be on Parcel A, and when [the deck marker] was found, instead of apologizing they made the bogus claim it was safe.We don’t trust them.”

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The Port of San Francisco, which controls much of the The City’s waterfront, faces potential layoffs due to a financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Steven Ho/Special to S.F. Examiner)
In a financial ‘crisis,’ SF Port officials lobby for stimulus funding

Looking to right their financial ship, Port of San Francisco officials are… Continue reading

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faced with surge in shootings, Chief Scott reenvisions SFPD’s Gang Task Force

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)
SF Symphony makes joyful return to Davies Hall

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts program for first responders and community leaders

Stores including Walgreens and Safeway are required to pay their employees additional hazard pay under a city ordinance that is currently set to expire later this month. (Shutterstock)
Grocery workers could gain additional weeks of $5 per hour hazard pay

San Francisco will vote next week on whether to extend a law… Continue reading

The fatal shooting of San Francisco resident Roger Allen by Daly City police on April 7 prompted protests in both cities. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Daly City approves body-worn and vehicle cameras for police after fatal shooting

Daly City officials on Wednesday approved body and vehicle cameras for police… Continue reading

Most Read